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Hawaii News

Pair offers blankets to Oahu’s homeless via Waikiki Health

It was a gesture inspired by Hawaii’s cooler winter weather, and comes with a message of hope.

An Oahu couple with the first names of Rosanna and Peter — who otherwise wish to remain anonymous — wanted to keep Honolulu’s homeless warm and offered a donation to Waikiki Health to buy 250 fleece blankets.

Rosanna told Waikiki Health’s director of marketing and development, Mary Beth Lohman, “‘It’s cold out there, we need to get these people some blankets. They have to be really long. I want them to cover their toes.’”

And the couple wanted each blanket to come with an attached, cardboard message that reads, “Don’t give up, YOU MATTER. From Rosanna and Peter, with love.”

When officials at the Walmart on Fort Street Mall heard about the project, the store knocked off 10 percent of the price of its 60-by-90-inch fleece blankets, dropping the total cost down to $2,700.

Rosanna declined to be identified or interviewed but said in a statement through Waikiki Health:

“The purpose of the ‘Blanket Project’ is to acknowledge that the homeless people in our community are real human beings just like us, except perhaps less fortunate. They are no different than you and I, having physical and emotional needs. When each one of us extends a hand to a homeless person in a simple act of kindness — a smile, an encouraging word, helping hands or in a prayer — we are living the spirit of Aloha that makes Hawaii so unique.”

On Wednesday, outreach workers from Waikiki Health’s Care-A-Van program plan to distribute the blankets to homeless people throughout Waikiki and Kakaako and to its Youth Outreach drop-in homeless center for teens.

With Honolulu struggling with the highest per capita homeless population in the country, Lohman said the blankets will be eagerly appreciated.

“We can easily give out 500,” Lohman said. “It won’t take us but a second to distribute 250.”

And each person who gets a blanket will walk away with a message from two strangers named Rosanna and Peter that reads, “YOU MATTER.”

8 responses to “Pair offers blankets to Oahu’s homeless via Waikiki Health”

  1. livinginhawaii says:

    “It’s cold out there”. Huh? I haven’t slept with a blanket for a long time. Given the temperatures and humidity this past year they should be handing out fans.

  2. Bdpapa says:

    Well Mr. Mayor and Gov. Ige, step upland match this from your own pockets!

  3. jessapo says:

    Lots of examples of positivity out there, not just negative like the news sometimes portrays. I attended a forum at UH recently and there are many very smart people who have great ideas. We just need our legislature and governor to listen. We need a march on the capitol to show how important this issue is and how much we need more mental health support and spending for good reasons. Bless all those who are houseless and those trying to help. It’s not easy to make it here in Hawaii, but we have all the Aloha we need, if we use it.

  4. Maipono says:

    Rosanna and Peter, you matter! What a great gesture of Aloha from two very special people. Thanks to Walmart for helping out as well.

  5. copperwire9 says:

    Beautiful. Simply, kindly beautiful.

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